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The Voice in the Dark

For 40 years I nearly drank myself to death. I don’t know why I started, but I despaired of ever quitting. I thought I’d never be OK again.

For 40 years I nearly drank myself to death. I don’t know why I started, but I despaired of ever quitting. I thought I’d never be OK again.

My wife was a Christian. She prayed for me for years before she died. She told me that Jesus loved me and had something much better for me, but I held my bottle tighter and pushed her and Christ away.

One evening, when things were at their darkest, I knelt on my bed and prayed. “Jesus,” I cried with hot tears streaming down my face, “I don’t deserve your help, but I’m begging you to set me free from this addiction.”

As I pleaded for release, I sensed a voice speaking to my heart. “Stand up and follow Me,” it said. Without question, I slipped on my shoes and walked out the door, following the voice as it directed me down the road. I walked and walked until it told me to stop. “Look up in front of you,” it said. I looked up and saw a sign that read Seventh-day Adventist Church. “This is where you need to come to pray.”

I noticed that people were gathered in the building, so I took a seat in the back row. I listened intently as a man preached a message of hope from God’s Word. I was so encouraged, I returned the next morning for worship and the following Friday night.

Then the voice spoke to me again. “Don’t stay at church without doing anything. Work for Jesus!” What can I do? I wondered. I’m old and I have little strength. I waited for instructions, but the voice was silent now.

Keeper of the Church

Several days later an idea occurred to me. Packing up a few supplies, I went to the church Friday afternoon and started cleaning it. I washed the windows, swept the floor, and wiped down the pews. Then I placed a hymnal on each chair. When the people came to worship, I greeted them warmly. They looked approvingly at the sparkling church and asked when I’d started working as the caretaker. “Since God told me this was my job,” I replied.

A week later, I got a small job in town to earn a little extra money. The voice came again. “Why are you working here to earn money? Didn’t you notice that my house is surrounded by tall grass and shrubs?” I went home to get my machete and cut the overgrown grass and shrubs around the church until the building stood out clearly. My responsibilities had grown.

A Labor of Love

I’m retired from the military and I have a small pension, so I can afford to care for the church for free. It’s a labor of love, and it makes me happy to serve my church this way.

I wish that I’d taken better care of myself during the 40 years I drank. I can’t see or hear well anymore, and I’m always tired. But I’m thankful for each day and the blessings God gives me. He brought me into His marvelous light, and someday soon He’ll make me incorruptible and immortal. Until then, I’ll serve Him with whatever strength He provides.

Something Wonderful

I accepted Jesus as my Savior one year ago, and now I do what I can to share with others the love that saved me. I especially seek out those who are addicted to alcohol and suffering from despair. I tell them that God has a plan to bring light into their darkness and that if they listen to His Word, He will do something wonderful for them. I haven’t had the blessing of leading someone to Jesus yet, but I’m going to keep trying until I die.

If you’ve ever felt it’s too late to turn your life around and do something for Jesus, please take courage. I was 83 when I washed my first church window. He can make something beautiful out of your life too.

This quarter, the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build an Adventist secondary school in Gabon. Many young people in my country are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Please give generously so that they too can find freedom and joy in Jesus.